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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spartak Robbed by Late Inter Equalizer




Spartak Moscow was cruelly robbed of a well-deserved Champions League victory against Inter Milan on Wednesday when Diego Simeone scored with an 89th minute header to give the Italians a 1-1 draw in a game dominated throughout by the Russian champion.


Playing hard and with passion from the start, Spartak had looked as if it would seal a magnificent performance with a win after Andrei Tikhonov put the team ahead in the 68th minute.


Although Spartak and Inter remain level in Group C at seven points each with two games left, Spartak faces a difficult away match against Real Madrid before taking on Sturm Graz at home.


Real Madrid, who have six points, were due to play later Wednesday against Sturm Graz.


Roared on by a thundering crowd of 83,000 at Luzhniki Stadium, Spartak went forward constantly in an attempt to break down an Inter team relying solely on counterattacks.


World player of the year Ronaldo was utterly subdued by the defense and totally outshone by Spartak's own Brazilian, Robson, who outdid his sterling performance in Spartak's recent 2-1 win over Real Madrid by chasing every ball and continually harassing the Inter defense. Ronaldo, by contrast, was taken off in the 66th minute.


Two minutes later, another surging Spartak attack left the ball with Tikhonov on the left just outside the penalty box. A wafting curl of a shot left Inter goalie Gianluca Pagliuca helpless as the ball bounced off the post, hitting his back and rebounding into the goal.


Going behind on such a daft goal only seemed to quieten Inter even more and Spartak strung together passes as if they were toying with the UEFA Cup champion.


Until the 89th minute. With a minute to go, Spartak gave away a needless free kick and Simeone nodded in the equalizer.


For the first time, the cheers of the small band of Inter fans could be heard among the hordes of Spartak faithful at Luzhniki.


Afterward, an emotional Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev attacked the referee and said his side should have won 3-0.


A smiling Inter coach Gigi Simone, whose job was said to be in danger after three straight defeats in the Italian serie A, paid tribute to the Russian team. "Spartak demonstrated a great game," he said.


Nevertheless, Simone wasn't convinced by Russian journalists' suggestions that his team had been fortunate.


"Look at the [Spartak] goal that went off the back of the goalie ... you decide," the Inter coach said.